I woke this morning with the image of a dream imprinted on my eyelids. The image was a simple one… an empty landscape with a lake that held the reflection of a tree.
I could replay the dream in silent freeze-frame. The image was divided in two by the shoreline of a lake. A tree stood tall and straight as a Scots pine, wide as an ancient oak, right on the edge of the empty shore. Below, the calm waters held its reflection with barely the shimmer of a ripple.
The thin line of the land, a horizon drawn by a child, never changed, no cloud marred the pale, immutable luminescence of the sky. Only the tree, as if dancing to the song in its branches and the rising and setting of the light.
I watched as the birds flew and sang through the bole and children played at its feet laughing. I saw the seasons paint themselves in green and gold, scarlet and black on its limbs. I saw the children grow, saw their trysts beneath the branches… and saw their children return in their turn to laugh and love and pass.
After an eternity, men came with axes and tried to fell the tree, but they could not. Later, they came with chainsaws, yet still it stood. Then I watched as the tree, whole and healthy, seemed to fall of its own accord, yet where it fell, no trace of it remained, only an empty horizon.
Yet in the clear mirror of the lake, the reflection of the tree still stood, tall and straight as a pine, wide as an ancient oak.
The birds flew above it, and their reflections played still amongst the branches. Children leaned from the bank to play amongst the reflected roots. The seasons still painted the reflection with green and gold, scarlet and black. But on the land, the tree was nowhere to be seen…
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